Different Types of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a condition that affects the liver and is typically caused by viral infection. Hepatitis is classified as an inflammatory condition that can be caused by various reasons including alcohol, medication, toxins, drugs, and infections. The liver is an essential body organ that performs various body functions. Without a functional liver, one’s health deteriorates, and other health conditions may develop (i.e., liver cancer, cirrhosis, and hepatitis). Consider these functions that the liver performs:

  • Production of bile for digestion
  • Breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
  • Synthesizing blood proteins
  • Bilirubin excretion
  • Activation of enzymes

Many Americans are not aware that they may have hepatitis. We recommend regular checkups with your healthcare professional if symptoms of chronic fatigue, unexplained flu-like symptoms, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and sudden weight loss, dark urine or pale stool, and jaundice occur. Detecting hepatitis early means managing the symptoms and prevention disease progression. The following are the major hepatitis types:

1. Hepatitis A
This type of hepatitis is caused by infection with HAV (Hepatitis A Virus). The common cause of this disease is the consumption of water or food that has been contaminated by feces. The feces usually contain the virus from a person with Hepatitis A.

2. Hepatitis B
This type of hepatitis is caused by infection with HBV (Hepatitis B Virus). It is mainly transmitted through body fluids such as semen, blood, and vaginal secretions that contain HBV. It can be transmitted through sex with an infected partner, or sharing needles and razors with an infected person. The greatest risk group is drug abusers who share needles.

3. Hepatitis C
This type of hepatitis is caused by an infection with HCV (Hepatitis C Virus). The common cause of this hepatitis is through the transmission of body fluids. For instance, sexual contact with an infected person, sharing needles, or tattoo equipment that has come in contact with the virus. It is the most common form of blood borne infection affecting many americans.

4. Hepatitis D
This type of hepatitis is caused by infection with HDV (Hepatitis D Virus). It can only be transmitted if one comes in direct contact with blood that is infected. This form of hepatitis is not common in the United States. It also can only occur alongside hepatitis B, which means it cannot multiply if hepatitis B is not present.

5. Hepatitis E
This type of hepatitis is caused by infection with HEV (Hepatitis E Virus). It is a waterborne disease meaning it is mainly transmitted through water. It is common in areas with poor water sanitation and is caused when one ingests feces that have been contaminated by dirty water. It is a very common type of hepatitis in America.

Ultimately, hepatitis is a chronic disease that can result in death if not treated properly. It is also important to maintain good hygiene to prevent contracting the disease. Avoid getting in contact with stagnant water and sharing injections and needles.